There were many different reactions to the Vietnam War among the American population. The three representations all give an insight and explore people’s different views about the Vietnam War. In this essay I will analyse the content, accuracy and objectivity of the representations, before I make a final judgement about which one is the best regarding the reactions of Americans to the Vietnam War.
Representation 1 gives a clear insight as to how a group, ‘The Committee to Help Unsell the War’, consisting of professional advertisers and prestigious businessmen, applied their skills and expertise in creating a poster to try and dissuade people against supporting the war. This representation has some broad coverage; this is mainly because the message expressed through the poster, that too many American soldiers are dying in Vietnam, reflects a widespread concern among a wide section of US society.
Also this group is definitely not a minority of the American population, not only does it consist of ad executives, but many other powerful and influential figures were involved in attempt to combat Pentagon ‘spin doctors’. However the representations coverage is very limited, one example of this limited coverage is the poster only gives one reason against the war, also this one reason lacks context. The poster fails to explain why exactly they are against the war.
Another factor that limits the coverage is that the poster is from one group; even though not a minority the reactions from this group do not represent a large majority of the American public. Also the poster is from one time during the war, the representation doesn’t show different posters from different times, this significantly limits its coverage as people’s reaction to the war changed as the war progressed. This representation is partly accurate, mainly due to it sharing the same concern and expressing the same views as many other anti-war posters, it is also similarly presented to them.
The fact that this poster is similar to other anti-war posters corroborates the poster’s accuracy. Also it gives a precise and accurate insight into how the group who created the poster reacted to the war, and how they felt about it. It also gives an interesting image, of how presentational devices were used to unsell the war. However this representation is mostly inaccurate, mainly because the poster is someone’s opinion, it lacks factual information, and this severely limits its accuracy. Another factor that contributes to its inaccuracy is that the message given is very simple and blunt, as it lacks any significant detail.
Representation 1 is almost completely unobjective, mainly due to the fact that it is propaganda, with the sole purpose to persuade the reader to disagree with the war. It also contains an emotive and dark image, of a skeleton in replacement of Uncle Sam, to ignite anger and bitterness from the reader. It lacks any facts, details or figure, it is purely an opinion expressed in attempt to turn people against the war. Also the image of death in the poster is a sensitive topic which is close to a lot of American people, due to the amount of young American men dying in Vietnam.
This sensitivity is used as a tool of persuasion, by creating a more powerful and persuasive message against the war. Overall representation 1 provides an amazing insight into how professional advertising personnel attempted to unsell the war. It accurately portrays a widely felt concern over the high death rate in Vietnam, felt by many Americans, even though it only contains one poster from one group of people. However it lacks detail, and context, it also fails to include facts, and is completely unobjective due to the emotive and sensitive topic, for the purpose of persuasion, that it expresses.